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The Great Harris Papyrus

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (series)

    • The Great Harris Papyrus
  • Description

    Papyrus Harris; frame 24; full colour vignette of Ramses III before gods of Heliopolis: Ra-Horakhty, Atum, Iusaas(-Nebethetepet) and Hathor(-Nebethetepet). Hieroglyphic labels.

  • Culture/period

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 45.8 centimetres (frame)
    • Length: 76.5 centimetres (frame)
    • Height: 42 centimetres (sheet)
    • Length: 72 centimetres (sheet)
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Script

  • Curator's comments

    The Great Harris papyrus was originally one of the longest to survive from ancient Egypt: the full roll was forty-two meters long before it was divided into more manageable sections. The text is written in hieratic, a handwritten adaptation of hieroglyphs for the medium of ink and brush on papyrus.
    The papyrus is divided into five sections. The first three sections describe the donations made by King Ramesses III (1184-1153 BC) to the gods and temples of Thebes, Memphis, and Heliopolis. The amounts were colossal: the list relating to Thebes alone includes 309,950 sacks of grain and large quantities of metals and semi-precious stones. Each of the three sections alternate with an illustration showing the king making offerings to the sacred families of Amun(-Ra), Ptah, and Ra(-Horakhty), the chief deities of these cult centres.

    This full colour vignette shows Ramesses III before a group of Heliopolitan gods: Ra-Horakhty, Atum, Iusaas(-Henut-Iunu), and Hathor(-Nebethetepet). The images are accompanied by hieroglyphic labels.

    The next section of the papyrus deals with a number of minor temples. The final section recounts the historical events of the reign and lists the possessions of all the great temples at the time of the king’s death. The text presents the chaos at the beginning of the Twentieth Dynasty (about 1186-1069 BC) including military battles with the Sea Peoples, Libyans, and Meshwesh, and other foreign expeditions. This section is clearly idealised, glorifying the king rather than presenting a trustworthy historical narrative. Nonetheless, it does contain many important pointers to the history of the reign. The account ends with the death of Ramesses III and the accession of his son Ramesses IV (1153-1147 BC).


  • Bibliography

    • Grandet 1994 bibliographic details
    • Trismegistos 381231 ( bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Exhibition history


    2011 Jul–Sept, Newcastle, Great North Museum, Pharaoh: King of Egypt
    2012 Oct–Jan, Dorchester, Dorset County Museum, Pharaoh: King of Egypt
    2012 Feb–June, Leeds City Museum, Pharaoh: King of Egypt
    2012 Jul-Oct, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Pharaoh: King of Egypt
    2012 Nov– Feb 2013, Glasgow, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Pharaoh: King of Egypt
    2013 Mar–Aug, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery , Pharaoh: King of Egypt

    [Theme: A Home for the Gods]

  • Condition

    Papyrus Survey: Condition Details: Papyrus: loss, delaminating, fractured, bleached Black ink Pigment (cracked, loss) Backed: white paper checked for loan USA 1997 Mount Details: Sandwich: glass Sandwich: board Binding: leather Object Priority: B Mount Priority: A Overall Condition: C Curatorial condition comment: fair

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Ancient Egypt & Sudan

  • BM/Big number


  • Registration number


  • Additional IDs

    • Frame.24
The Great Harris Papyrus: SHEET 24  full colour vignette of Ramses III before gods of  Heliopolis: Ra-Horakhty, Iusaas-Nebethetepet and Hathor-Nebethetepet.

The Great Harris Papyrus: SHEET 24 full colour vignette of Ramses III before gods of Heliopolis: Ra-Horakhty, Iusaas-Nebethetepet and Hathor-Nebethetepet.

Image description



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Object reference number: YCA66259

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